I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think I may have bought illegal cannabis at a recent Hudson Valley farmer's market. Either that, or the local farmer who took my money has just found an amazing loophole to an increasingly frustrating system of red tape that's keeping many growers from selling their product.

Countless cannabis farmers in New York have reported their businesses being at risk due to their inability to sell the product they spent so much time and energy creating. With dispensary approvals taking longer than expected, many farms, including Ulster County's Hepworth Farms, are stuck with cannabis that they can't sell. So how did I buy what I bought?

Hepworth Farms in Ulster County, NY is just one of the farms struggling to sell the cannabis that they grew (Google)
Hepworth Farms in Ulster County, NY is just one of the farms struggling to sell the cannabis that they grew (Google)
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Struggling Cannabis Farmers in New York State

The farmer's market where I found my new, um, houseplant, will remain nameless, but it was smack-dab in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The humble tent, sandwiched between a vendor selling artisan sausage and a booth with handmade windchimes, wasn't selling consumable cannabis flower, but rather plants and seeds. This is the "loophole" that I think this clever farmer was exploiting.

The plant I bought at the unnamed local farmer's market in the Hudson Valley (TSM Hudson Valley/Canva)
The plant I bought at the unnamed local farmer's market in the Hudson Valley (TSM Hudson Valley/Canva)
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Can You Buy Cannabis Seeds and Plants in New York?

The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis flower (tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC) is what makes the drug illegal both federally and also in many remaining states. Since THC is only present in the cannabis flower, however, products like cannabis seeds (which do not contain any THC) are generally legal to buy anywhere in the state. The logic follows that the same is true for immature plants.

Our plant has grown well over the last month, but it still doesn't have any THC or flowers (TSM Hudson Valley)
Our plant has grown well over the last month, but it still doesn't have any THC or flowers (TSM Hudson Valley)
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Cannabis "Loophole" in New York?

The cannabis plant I bought at the unnamed farmer's market was a scraggly fella. Barely a foot tall and with few leaves, this humble vegetation was nowhere near the giant, flower-bearing plant that is harvested for its mind-altering effects. Is this why it was legal to buy in broad daylight from an unlicensed seller?

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As you should know very well by the tone of this article, I am nowhere near a legal expert, and showing this article to the police if they nab you for illegal activities will provide you with no help at all. That being said, if non-flowering plants can be sold at-will, could this option be a stopgap for farmers while the red tape is sorted and they can begin selling the flowers themselves? Could be worth consideration.

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